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Immigration in EU Member States

15/12/2017

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A total of 4.7 million people immigrated to one of the 28 EU Member States in 2015. This figure includes both immigration from outside the EU and immigration flows between EU countries.

Of these immigrants, half (2.4 million or 50%) were citizens of non-EU countries, 1.4 million people (30%) had citizenship of a different EU Member State from the one to which they immigrated, 0.9 million people (19%) migrated to an EU Member State of which they had citizenship (for example, returning nationals), and some 19 000 (less than 1%) were stateless.

The term 'Immigrant' refers to a person who has entered a Member State to establish his/her usual residence in its territory for a period that is, or is expected to be, at least 12 months.

Germany reported the largest total number of immigrants (1 544 000 people or 33% of the EU total) in 2015, followed by the United Kingdom (631 000 or 14%), France (364 000 or 8%), Spain (342 000 or 7%) and Italy (280 000 or 6%).

 

Highest proportion of national immigrants in Romania and Lithuania

Immigrants can also be nationals of the country they are immigrating to. The share of nationals was particularly high in Romania (where they accounted for 87% of all immigrants in 2015), Lithuania (83 %), Hungary (56 %), Croatia (55 %), Latvia (52 %), Estonia (52 %) and Portugal (50 %). Returning nationals represented at least 1 in 10 immigrants in almost all Member States, except Luxembourg (5%), Germany and Austria (both 6%).

 

Italy and Slovenia had highest shares of non-EU immigrants

Non-EU citizens accounted for more than half of all immigrants in seven Member States: Italy (67%), Slovenia (64%), Germany (63%), Sweden (58%), Spain (54%), Austria (52%) and Bulgaria (51%). Only 7% of immigrants in Romania and 10% in Slovakia were non-EU citizens.

 

Majority of Luxembourg immigrants were citizens of another EU Member State

Only in Luxembourg the majority of immigrants were citizens of another EU Member State (69% of all immigrants). The Czech Republic (49%) and Slovakia (44%) had the next highest shares. Less than 10% of immigrants were nationals of another EU Member State in Lithuania (4%), Bulgaria and Romania (6%) and Latvia (7%).

 

Distribution of immigrants by citizenship, 2015

The source dataset is available here.

 

This article marks the International Day of Migrants (18 December).

More information is available in a Statistics Explained article on migration and migrant population.